This paper addresses the formation of wh-questions in Thetogovela Moro, a Kordofanian language spoken in the Nuba Mountains of Sudan. Moro has both in-situ and ex-situ wh-questions, but exhibits a subject/non-subject asymmetry: while non-subjects may employ either construction, subjects must appear in the ex-situ form. Ex-situ wh-questions are analyzed as wh-clefts, and they share several properties with clefts and relative clauses. The fronted element is marked with a cleft particle and for noun phrases, a demonstrative that we analyze as a relative pronoun is used. Verbal tone patterns are those that are found in dependent clauses rather than main clauses. Subject questions, clefts and relative clauses are marked with a verbal prefix é-, while non-subject questions, clefts and relative clauses are marked with a verbal prefix ə́-. We analyze these prefixes as dependent clause markers and provide evidence of additional dependent clause uses in the language. Finally, non-subject wh-questions bear an optional particle nə́- on the subject and/or verb. We offer several arguments that this is best analyzed as a complementizer.

Sharon Rose
Farrell Ackerman
George Gibbard
Peter Jenks
Laura Kertz
Hannah Rohde
Publication date: 
January 1, 2014
Publication type: 
Recent Publication
Rose, Sharon, Farrell Ackerman, George Gibbard, Peter Jenks, Laura Kertz and Hannah Rohde. 2014. In-situ and ex-situ wh-question constructions in Moro. Journal of African Languages and Linguistics. Volume 35:91–125. DOI: 10.1515/jall-2014-0003